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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2553

Laughter: it’s the best medicine, indeed!

Hemantha Abeywardena writes from London…

A few days ago, the British media reported how the Queen managed to deal with a heavy cold that she came down with, during the Christmas period, owing to which she missed the traditional Christmas church service at Sandringham Estate.

Having been advised by her doctors to rest up and relax, according to the media reports, the Queen found a perfect way to complement the professional guidance, by turning to a well-known, self-generated auxiliary remedy – laughter.

The nonagenarian had actually been watching the famous Laurel Hardy comedy double act, as an integral part of her recuperation process, according the media. Those who commented on the report, fully agree with the Her Majesty over her choice: Laurel and Hardy are without a match, when it comes to igniting fits of laughter; the famous duo can easily eclipse a generation of modern comedians without any effort.

Laurel and Hardy

Laurel and Hardy took enormous risks in order to make the world laugh – and as it recently turned out, to stimulate the healing as well; it was revealed recently that they both suffered physical injuries during their breathtakingly creative stunts. The frequent eye poking acts, for instance, had led to over 80 potentially serious eye injuries.

Of course, the leak of the Queen’s recovery process from a heavy cold is not tantamount to a royal approval for comedy in curing illnesses. There are, however, millions of folks encourage their loved ones to watch famous comedies to stimulate the healing process that stems from within.

For instance, I saw a report recently that how a brother bought his terminally-ill sister all published episodes of Laurel and Hardy DVD set from Amazon as a way of easing her pain from a deadly cancer.

The role of humor and laughter in maintaining the wellness of human beings is not something new. It has been in existence since time immemorial. One of the earliest records in this regard is in the bible: according to King Solomon, “a cheerful heart is a good medicine, but a downcast spirit dries up the bones.” - Proverbs 17:22.

There have been well-known scientists, philosophers and doctors who used to value the role of laughter and humor in accelerating the process of healing. Voltaire, the famous, French playwright and Henri de Mondeville, the French Surgeon, for instance, never underestimated the constructive, psychological effect of the pair of factors.

Moreover, there have been many reports of the researches carried out by various academic bodies on the effect of the laughter and humor on the healing. The cite a positive correlation between the two with the support of statistics, collected from years of research involving individuals of all ages – across the globe.

A study from the University of Maryland Medical Centre in Baltimore, for instance, found that laughter and an active sense of humor may actually protect people from heart attacks. The study found that people with heart disease were 40% less likely to laugh under different circumstances compared to people of the same age who had no heart disease. People who had heart disease responded with less humor to life situations.

Since humor, more often than not, leads to positive mental attitude, its effect, in keeping the negative developments such as stress and depression at bay, cannot be underestimated. The research, carried out by the eminent scientists, do agree that the impact is real and immensely beneficial.

A famous American clergyman once summed up the power of humor in a single sentence: “A person without a sense of humor is like a wagon without springs – jolted by every pebble in the road.” No layman, with or without the help of divinity, will ever prove that the God-fearing priest got it wrong, especially in the presence of overwhelming evidence in support of the saying.

- Asian Tribune -

Laughter: it’s the best medicine, indeed!
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